Monthly Archives: December 2013

Quirky Running Habits!

With the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run only a few short months away, and the recent warm spell we had in my neck of the woods (Central PA)– I’m starting to get those little butterflies in my stomach made up of excitement, joy, and nerves all at the same time!

I don’t know about you, but I’m less than thrilled with treadmill running and am eager to get my run on outside!


While doing some interval training the other morning, I passed the time by thinking about some of my quirky running habits. It’s funny how “set in our ways” runners can be! I thought I’d share a few of my non-negotiable habits with you:

  • I Don’t Wear the T-Shirt Prior to the Race – Call it a superstition, but I feel like it would be unlucky to wear my race t-shirt prior to actually running AND FINISHING the race. As if perhaps the “running gods” would swoop down and trip me prior to crossing the line. However, I DO wear it that day (along with my finishers medal of course!) once I’ve cleaned up after race.
  • I Have a Running “Persona”, Jenny Bennie – The first half marathon I ever ran, I ran for my uncle, who had passed away of cancer a few months prior to the race. He always referred to me as Jenny Bennie, and I had that name ironed on to the shirt I wore for the run. Since then, I’ve almost always signed up for runs under this exact name. At packet pickup I usually get a smile out of the organizers.
  • I Always Wear Sunglasses – I think this one goes back to my first half marathon as well. I have this big pair of sunglasses that I always wear when I run. Even if it’s cloudy or rainy and I have no use for them, I’ll wear them on my head. (My ponytail keeps them from falling off the back.) It’s like a little security blanket!

Here’s a shot of the shirt and the sunglasses during my first half. The future was so bright, I HAD to wear shades.


  • I Don’t Look at the Route – I know, I know……. this is the EXACT opposite of what pretty much everyone recommends as far as preparing for a race. Leave it to me to not follow directions. So *why* do I do this?! I don’t want to psych myself out. AND – it makes it feel like more of an “adventure” to me.
  • Pre-Race Banana, NO Exceptions – I’ve tried plenty of other pre-race snacks, but the banana just works for me. Now it’s an absolute MUST!! My belly doesn’t get upset during the run, my energy seems to stay even throughout the run, and it doesn’t feel like it weighs me down.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your habit – lucky pair of socks? Same dinner the night before? Share away!!


Jenny is a 30-something working mom, wife, avid weight lifter, and four time half-marathoner who blogs at


Running Isn’t Complicated

Hal Higdon once said, “Running is easy. Other than walking, it is the simplest sport. Sometimes we overthink running and make it more complicated than need be.”

I couldn’t agree more. Running is easy. Nothing beats hitting the road or trail and getting lost in the motion of running. It’s great to shut off the mind for a bit and simply enjoy the flow of running. Yet, it’s hard for me to ignore that we (including myself) sometimes find ways to make running complicated.

“Should I give those Vibram Five Fingers a go?”

“I see some runners wearing compression sleeves, should I?”

“Should I stretch before I run?.. during?… after?… at all?”

“VO2 what?”

“Will training with a heart rate monitor enhance my performance?”

These are just some of the questions I hear and read. Do I think they are valid? Certainly. Do they need to be in the forefront of our minds? Not always. We need to remember that all running takes is putting one foot in front of the other. That’s it. It’s that simple foundation that makes running so beautiful. I found that the less I think about all the little intricacies of running, the more I enjoy it.

Yes, there is a time and place to run against a certain standard (e.g., race pace runs, speedwork, hill repeats, the looooooooong run, etc…). But, every now and again, leave the running watch at home. Run at whatever pace you desire. Let the roads and paths lead you. Enjoy running for the simple art it is.

Running isn’t complicated…unless you choose to make it.

~Doug, @DougCassaro

Doug started running in 2007 and is a RRCA-Certified Running Coach and proud coach for DC Road Runners. He lives in the Washington, DC metro area and works for the Federal Aviation Administration. He’s the chapter coordinator the Medals4Mettle Washington, DC Chapter, which collects finisher medals donated by runners and gifts them to children and adults dealing with chronic or debilitating illnesses.

Winter Training – Dressing for the Run


What I currently wear to run!
What I currently wear to run!

I am going to be training for spring and summer races during the winter and I have to dress in layers.  Dressing this way will help me regulate my body temperature as I run.  My first winter training run I overdressed and became overheated by the end of the run.  I had dressed for the weather not the run.  I failed to take into consideration that I would warm up as the run progressed. I was HOT!

I run early in the morning so the temperatures are rather low when I start.  I’ve run in single digit weather and I was worried about not being warm enough. My first run was around 12 degrees or so.  I was a novice and I did not know what to expect.  I planned for the worst and was hoping for the best.

I had on 3 shirts, a jacket, and 2 pairs of pants, gloves, hat, and ear warmers.  I was warm when I started and felt like I was boiling when it ended. Panting like a dog, gasping for air and in need of water.  What had I done?  Was I trying to internally cook myself?  I got to the car and started stripping right away.  I had a few onlookers watching my striptease.  I did not care I was trying to cool down, not put on a show.  I have since learned from that.  I dress in layers.

When I run this winter I will dress accordingly.  I have thermal compression pants and shirt, a jacket and vest.  I am a little chilly when I start running but the end of the run my temperature is regulated.  NO striptease necessary!


My go-to running pants. Zebra.

Do you train in the winter for warm weather races? If so, how do you dress for your runs?

~Fran, @Flash_Fran

Francine has a love of family, fitness, fashion and fun.  She is on a journey to become a better runner, eat healthier, get fit as a family and show off her fashion sense all while having fun.  She is the mother of 2 boys, works full-time and is a recent grad. She believes that Hard Work = Results and staying Positive gets you there. 

Runner’s Wish List

Runner's Wish ListIt’s that time of year when everyone is making their lists and checking them twice. If you are like me, you have been browsing the websites, catalogs and aisles of your favorite athletic stores, looking for the latest running gear to put on your wish list. I am pretty well outfitted for the time being, but there are a few things that I think are on every runner’s wish list.

1. An injury-free year. I have struggled with plantar fascitis, ITB syndrome, and other injuries that plague runners. By balancing my running with strength training and yoga, I was able to fend off major injuries in 2013, and I hope to do the same in 2014.

2. A Personal Record. Unless you are new to running, you can’t earn a “PR” in every race, but most runners hope for–and train for–at least one PR every racing season. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is a great race for a PR because the course really is mostly flat and fast.

3. Flattering Race Pictures. I’ve run a lot of races, but have very few race pictures that I would want anyone else to see. If I knew where to expect the race photographers along the course, maybe I wouldn’t pick that moment to take a swig of water or wipe the sweat off my face. Race photographers must realize that we are more likely to buy those pictures if we actually like them! Maybe MarathonFoto (the official photographer for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run) will come through with great race pictures for everyone.

What’s on your runner’s wish list?


Courtenay is an attorney and Virginia native, born,  raised and living in Alexandria, Virginia. She started running after graduating from law school, and has been hooked on the endorhpins ever since. Her favorite race distance is 10 miles. 

Running Superstitions

Pink and Blue CloverWe’re several days into  the 2014 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run lottery, and are crossing our laces for everyone tweeting us and commenting on Facebook to get selected for this year’s race!

There are 4 runners (and many 2013 volunteers and charity runners!) who do not have to rely on luck to get into this year’s CUCB: our 2 social runners, Doug and Francine, and (for the first time ever!) our two blog contributors, Jenny and Courtenay.

We’re pleased to introduce them to those of you who haven’t already “met” them online, and to share their responses to the question “Are you superstitious?”


Jenny is a mom, wife, avid weight lifter, and runner living and working in Central PA who blogs at

Is she superstitious?

If you had asked me BEFORE I started running, I would have said no. But I am when it comes to races! I never wear my race shirt until I’ve completed the race, and I always wear the same pair of “lucky” sunglasses when running!

Courtenay is an attorney, wife, mom (empty-nester) and runner in Alexandria, Virginia, who blogs at “Running With Perseverance,”

Is she superstitious?

I don’t think of myself as being superstitious, but when I am at the mercy of the luck of the draw, I probably do cross my fingers, think positive thoughts, and say a quick prayer! That approach has worked for me with the CUCB, since I was lucky enough to get in through the lottery for the past two years. So, fingers crossed…

Social Runners

Francine works in banking, is the mother of 2 boys, and a runner in Delaware, who blogs at

Is she superstitious?

I am superstitious.  I cross my fingers before I hit enter on any lottery race.  Good luck and cross those fingers! 

Doug is a runner and parallel parking champ from Washington, DC who blogs at

Is he superstitious?

I do not have any superstitions but I believe in good fortune.